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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Joseph Dalton Hooker   8 [February 1847]

Down Farnborough Kent

F. 8th.

My dear Hooker

I have been a long time in thanking you for your examination of the operculum curtain,1 but I have been very unwell for all last week, my Father has been ill & my visit to Shrewsbury delayed2 & all things gone on badly. Guided by what you saw, in a better & older specimen, I saw nearly all which you did; I strongly suspect that the anastomising lines are vessels. After you went, I could not resist going on with Conia & I have got some capital horizontal sections one above the other which show the structure of the shell & of the sutures, which are awfully complicated & I shall end by having a whole plate of coloured drawings.3 Your coloured section was a splendid thought: do not think, however, that I mean to fasten these other sections on you, for I think I can well make Leonard4 understand my meaning.

I, also, understand more about the operculum, over which we spent such hours, & I fear that your beautiful pencil drawing must be altered: in those specimens, the whole had collapsed.— I hope to Heaven I am right in spending such a time over one object.—

I hardly know when I shall come to Kew for a morning to hear what you have to say about my species-sketch:5 when there I shall get you to look over a paper with me in the Annales S. Nat. on the Norfolk Isld Flora—a very nice resumé,6 but it quite omits all notice of the general affinities of the indigenous species, which I daresay by running over the genera you cd. tell. How I do wish you had time to discuss all insular Floras, as far as present knowledge; what a truly splendid paper you cd make—the African islands—, Tristan d’Acunha Juan Fernandez, the Society Isd which you have partly done.— But I suppose I must remain content with wishing for it.—

All my plans are uncertain on account of Shrewsbury; I hope, however, to be up for the Geolog. Anniversary, but whether to stay in London I know not.

You cannot tell how thorougily I enjoyed your visit here, & indeed profited by it in many ways.— What a loose set of dogs you savans appear to have been at your Club dinner on Monday.7

Ever yours | C. Darwin

Should your future schemes ever become fixed, I mean about any expedition, pray let me know early, for I much interested on that head.—8


During Hooker’s visit to Down he had assisted CD with his microscopical examination of cirripedes. According to CD’s ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix I) he was studying the genus Conia (Tetraclita).
CD visited his father in Shrewsbury from 19 February to 5 March (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix I).
In classifying Conia (a synonym for Tetraclita), CD primarily relied ‘on the general outline of the opercular valves, and on the ridges and crests on their under sides’ (Living Cirripedia (1854): 327). Plate X in Living Cirripedia (1854) includes six coloured drawings.
Samuel William Leonard, a member of the Microscopical Society, employed by CD to prepare drawings of cirripedes (see Correspondence vol. 3, letter to W. B. Carpenter, [October–December 1846], and letter to J. D. Hooker, [December 1846]). However, all the plates in Living Cirripedia (1851, 1854) are by George Brettingham Sowerby Jr.
Hooker probably took the fair copy of CD’s essay of 1844 (DAR 113; Foundations, pp. 57–255) home with him after his visit to Down.
A review of Endlicher 1833 in the Annales des sciences naturelles (Botanique) 2d ser. 3 (1833): 50–6, which contained a list of the new genera of the plants found on Norfolk Island. CD made an abstract of the article (DAR 72: 86–7), particularly noting the large proportion of plants not common to neighbouring land and commenting: ‘Such facts are very good, as we may feel sure in these cases not introduced from some foreign land & there since exterminated—apply this to the Galapagos genera, where many species.’ (DAR 72: 87v.).
The first of a series of annual dinners for the staff of the Geological Survey, organised by Edward Forbes and held in London on 25 January 1847 (Wilson and Geikie 1861, pp. 411–12).
Hooker was eager to undertake a botanical expedition either to the Andes or the Himalayas. It was not until the autumn of 1847 that he was able to obtain Government support for a journey to India (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [6 or 13 October 1847], n. 1).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Endlicher, Stephan Ladislaus. 1833. Prodromus florae Norfolkicae sive catalogus stirpium quae in insula Norfolk annis 1804 et 1805 a Ferdinando Bauer collectae et depictae nunc in Museo Caesareo Palatino rerum naturalium Vindobonae servantur. Vienna.

Foundations: The foundations of the Origin of Species. Two essays written in 1842 and 1844 by Charles Darwin. Edited by Francis Darwin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1909. [Reprint edition. New York: Kraus Reprint Co. 1969. Also reprinted in De Beer ed. 1958.]

Geikie, Archibald. 1861. On a rise of the coast of the Firth of Forth within the historical period. Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal n.s. 14: 102–12.

Living Cirripedia (1851): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Lepadidæ; or, pedunculated cirripedes. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1851.

Living Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Balanidæ (or sessile cirripedes); the Verrucidæ, etc. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1854.


Cirripede observations.

Would like to hear what JDH has to say about his species sketch.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 79
Physical description
6pp & C

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1058,” accessed on 4 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4